So a niche question but one we get often enough that I though worth going into my depth on is:
Hey, Why Are SaaStr Annual, Inbound, Dreamforce (and More) All At Almost The Same Time?
First, FYI, for SaaStr it’s not our goal but that global pandemic did change things!
The simple answer is that traditionally, most B2B companies that did a big event wanted it in Q3 to help influence pipeline and close the year strong.
This was certainly true of Salesforce and Dreamforce, where bringing top prospects out to SF was a key part of the sales cycle. I’m not 100% sure this is/was true at HubSpot and Inbound, but it was true of many, many other SaaS companies. September is the ideal month, but Dreamforce would float around a bit given how complex logistics are taking over the whole city of SF (back when Dreamforce was bigger). Zoom’s Zoomtopia is in early October, for the same reason.
There actually were far more SaaS and B2B vendor events before that global pandemic. Twilio’s Signal for example used to be a huge, API festival in SF. Now, it’s digital-only. In fact, going into 2020, it seemed almost every CMO at a B2B company was focused on having a big in-person event. IRL vendor events were one of the top growth areas in marketing. That seems to have fallen by the wayside for now, with only the “biggies” for the most part still standing.
OK so fast forward to SaaStr itself — why does SaaStr Annual though have to be in September, right in the thick of things with Dreamforce and Inbound and more?
Well, it didn’t used to be. Pre-2021, we were actually in February for precisely this reason. There were literally no other B2B events, and it was a great one to kick off the new year with. A little cold in the Bay Area in February, but otherwise great.
But then again, that pandemic came and we decided to go festival-style and be muchly outdoors. To be outdoors in the Bay Area, your window in June to September. June was too soon in 2021, so we did the last practical outdoor dates in September 2021. And then repeated in 2022 and 2023. And we also have to plan SaaStr Europa partly outdoors now, too. That was in June 2022 and June 2023. Outdoor events are cool, but man, the weather! Don’t do them yourself.
So … yeah there’s a method to the madness. We hope to move SaaStr Annual back earlier in the year in 2025 and beyond, but for now, we’re committed to September to stay outdoors and more.
And yes, for some that will be a conflict. Not our goal. And to be honest, our good friends at Salesforce and HubSpot don’t really worry too much about it themselves. They have to focus on their own customers.
In any event, we’re working on it! But It’s Complicated.